Tag Archives: Hunting

America’s True Love Affair

It wasn’t always this way.  You used to have a rifle and maybe a shotgun for hunting.  Some folks had a pistol – usually a revolver.  Boys had a .22 to shoot bottles and vermin.  Maybe a few guys bought a gun that their wife didn’t know about and hid it in the attic. A few “collectors” had some rare pieces. You might have some extra ammo around.  No one had an arsenal.  No one kept 1000’s of rounds of ammunition in their garage or basement.  Some men and a goodly number of women liked owning a gun, but it didn’t go much beyond that.

Somewhere that changed.  Red can’t exactly pinpoint it, but maybe it was in the late 70’s that the gun lust started to build.

After college, Red was living in an apartment up in Northwest Hills with his friend Tom.  He didn’t own a gun, but there were some fairly well-to-do country boys who lived next door.  Red thinks they were taking the 5.5 year route to a degree at UT and enjoying their time in Austin before heading back to God knows where.  Tom was much friendlier with these guys than Red who was working pretty hard to make ends meet.  But when Red would go over to visit, the guns were always out.  And as Tom put it, these boys wouldn’t just handle their guns – it was like they were fondling them.  You almost expected them to put their lips up to a .45 and give it a long loving kiss.  It was a love affair. Red’s not sure but between the three of them, they probably had 20-30 weapons in that apartment. You’re probably wondering like Red did at the time, “why so many guns, gentlemen?”  Because other than that, they seemed like fairly normal country boys.  Except for this.  They were virulent racists.  As they more or less indicated, they were armed to the teeth because at almost any moment “the niggers in East Austin” were sitting there plotting how they were going to rise up, sweep into Northwest Hills (or any other white part of town) raping, pillaging, killing, looting and most importantly stealing all the guns.  They weren’t about to let that happen to their little corner of the world.

This was the first time Red encountered true naked gun lust.  Yes many of his friends had guns, but Red did not at the time.  Red’s daddy had been through the worst of it as a medic and ambulance driver in a battalion aid station in France, Belgium and Germany in WWII. Red could only guess at how many wounded and dying soldiers he had seen.  He wanted nothing to do with guns or hunting.  He did let Red have .22 and shoot bottles out at the ranch, but that was about it.

But still, the gun lust in Red started to grow.  He started hunting in his 30’s and found that it was an enjoyable experience.  Not so much the shooting and taking of game, but the outdoors experience and camaraderie.  And everyone had a nice deer rifle but Red.  So he bought one and then a shot gun and then he wanted more and more.  The lust was taking hold.  When Lil’ Red came of hunting age, he got a rifle and a shot gun (both nicer than Red’s by the way).  But was that enough.  The lust was strong and Red couldn’t even tell where it came from.  It made no sense really. Red believed that there should be some restrictions on gun ownership, that nobody needed a semi-automatic weapon or stockpiles of ammo, that there should not be loopholes for background checks and that some other ideas might be useful as well. Yet, the creeping lust was there. Red would always check out the gun counter at the local sporting goods store and think, “It would be nice to have one of those.”

Finally, Red said enough was enough.  He kept the two hunting rifles and shotguns because they were actually used for hunting and a .357 because his father-in-law gave it to him and sold everything else to someone in whom the lust was still running strong.  Yet, it still makes Red a little proud somewhere deep inside that he is a “gun owner.”

Texas Hunter Pays $350,000 to Hunt Black Rhino in Namibia

CNN details Texas hunter Corey Knowlton’s much criticized black rhino hunt in Namibia.  Knowlton bid $350,000 for the hunt at a Dallas Safari Club event.  Supporters argue that the hunt will provide funds for conservation and to prevent poaching while culling an older and dangerous non-reproductive male from the dwindling herd of around 5000 black rhinos in the wild.  Hunting and some wildlife conservation opponents scoff at those claims.  Red understands that most hunters are true wildlife conservationists as they have a direct interest in seeing that species survive – albeit to be hunted.  The efforts of groups such as Ducks Unlimited, who have worked for decades to increase waterfowl habitat, cannot be discounted.  Whiler there are clearly some immature and idiotic hunters who abuse the privilege, this planned and controlled rhino hunt seems like a perfectly acceptable way to raise money to preserve the species and should not be rejected on anti-hunting bias alone.  Red for one can’t wait to watch the CNN report.

Nearly 18 months ago, the Texas hunter bid $350,000 to kill a black rhinoceros in the southern African country of Namibia. The permit was issued by Namibia’s Ministry of Environment and Tourism and auctioned by the Dallas Safari Club.


Since then, Knowlton has faced scathing criticism and death threats as the world reacted to the controversial hunt of one of the world’s most endangered species. Knowlton has spent the last year and a half preparing and planning the hunt that is being highly scrutinized by animal welfare groups around the world.

He agreed to let our CNN crew document the hunt. “At this point, the whole world knows about this hunt and I think it’s extremely important that people know it’s going down the right way, in the most scientific way that it can possibly happen,” Knowlton said after arriving in Africa.

Knowlton, 36, from Dallas, wants the world to see that the hunt of such a majestic beast on the African continent is not the work of a bloodthirsty American hunter but a vital component of Namibia’s effort to save the animal from extinction.

Knowlton’s $350,000 will go to fund government anti-poaching efforts across the country. And the killing of an older rhino bull, which no longer contributes to the gene pool but which could harm or kill younger males, is part of the science of conservation, he argues.

That’s why he says he’s doing more to save the black rhino than his critics, and why he wanted us along on this historic hunt.

Opponents like the International Fund for Animal Welfare have not been swayed, saying hunting as conservation is a bankrupt notion. “We’ll simply never agree with that,” fund director Azzedine Downes said. “There’s a lot of other things that we can and must do in order to protect these animals.”

The journey of this hunt will examine the emotional debate raging around the issue of how best to protect endangered species on a continent that is home to some of the most legendary animals on the planet.

“I think people have a problem just with the fact that I like to hunt,” Knowlton said. “I want to see the black rhino as abundant as it can be. I believe in the survival of the species.”

For the record, Red would love to see one of these magnificent creatures in person – although not too close up – and he has absolutely no interest in shooting one – at any price.